By Clark Boyd
Black Friday kicks off a shopping season that lasts through Christmas each year, with online retailers vying for the profitable attention of consumers. With spending expected to rise by 47% this year, competition will be fierce.
The holiday season begins in earnest for ecommerce companies with the Black Friday weekend, bookended by Black Friday (November 24) and Cyber Monday (November 27).
Black Friday (the day retailers traditionally go ‘into the black’ due to the bumper sales) follows Thanksgiving in the US and kicks off a spending spree that typically continues through the Christmas period. The digital revolution has facilitated huge growth in spending worldwide, even spawning the online-focused Cyber Monday counterpart to satiate consumers’ desire to pick up a bargain.
Although dwarfed by China’s equivalent, known as ‘Singles Day’, which recently posted $12 billion in sales on Alibaba alone within just 2 hours, Black Friday holds particular significance for retailers in the US and beyond.
For context, the following statistics should paint a clear picture of the importance of this period for online stores:
- 2017 spending is predicted to rise by 47% over the same period in 2016
- Shoppers in the US spent $3.39 billion on Cyber Monday last year and $3.34 billion on Black Friday
- The Black Friday week brought sales of £6.5 billion in the UK in 2016
- The average American consumer will spend $745 over the Black Friday weekend
- Target sold 3,200 TVs per minute during the first hour of Black Friday last year.
Brands have been planning for the holidays for a long time already, so the focus will now turn to any last-minute changes that can help tempt consumers to their site and provide a seamless transaction experience when they get there.
SEO is quite rightly considered a long-term investment and strategies take time to come into effect, but some fine-tuning can still reap dividends in the immediate short term.
The tips below are intended to give ecommerce sites an SEO performance boost – just in time for the holiday period.
Focus on keyword groups with a high ROI
All brands are aiming to maximize revenues over the holidays, which leads to an increase in activity as their marketing strategies kick into action.
Search demand patterns change too, as consumers seek inspiration across a range of digital media.
This opens opens up new opportunities; search results are affected by these forces and they change in response to the surrounding stimuli. Intelligent targeting of the right queries at the right moments can see brands move into top positions and capitalize on demand peaks.
Historical data from Google Trends or Keyword Planner can highlight the types of queries that tend to increase around this time of year. Typically, modifiers including ‘best’, ‘gift’, ‘deals’, or ‘cheap’ will be popular with shoppers on the lookout for the right present.
Our guide to advanced keyword research is a great place to start this process, as it helps marketers to isolate short-term opportunities and strategize accordingly.
Use existing landing pages for high-volume terms
It helps if you are using an authoritative page to target profitable queries at the most competitive time of year. With only a couple of weeks until Black Friday, it would be a pretty tall order to launch a brand new page and rank in positions 1-3 for the most important terms,
And yet, many brands do exactly this every year. Rather than having one static Black Friday page and another for Cyber Monday that can be updated every year, they launch a new page every time the holidays roll round.
After all, the trend is predictable; we know searches for [black friday] are about to take off:
The retailers that make the most of this will have had a Black Friday page in place for years already, which benefits from the backlinks that have been sent to the site every year. Small updates, such as adding the year 2017 into the copy and title tag, will help the page gain relevance for this year’s searches.
Once the holidays pass, update the content to move shoppers to more relevant deals and allow the page to accrue SEO value until next year.
Add new content to cover new SEO opportunities
There are less obvious trends to make use of, too.
Recent analysis of BrightEdge data by Eugene Feygin revealed a very significant increase in the number of rich snippets returned for ecommerce queries over the past year. In fact, the research found that there has been an increase in the number of rich snippets of over 26% within the last five months.
Unsurprisingly, Amazon has benefited to a greater degree than most:
But the same opportunity exists for all retailers.
Given the prominence that is afforded the these quick answers, in what has come to be known as ‘position zero’, it seems too great a prize to ignore.
The question, then, is how to format content to increase its likelihood of being pulled programmatically as a rich snippet.
There are no black-and-white rules to this, but there are steps we can take to help our chances. For example, using Schema.org mark-up to provide Google with structured data about product features or prices will help greatly, and tools like Moz Keyword Explorer can help identify popular questions.
Repurpose old content to create gift guides
According to Google’s trend report from 2016, more than 70 percent of digital shoppers started their holiday shopping without something particular in mind that they wanted to buy.
The search journey doesn’t end when someone clicks through to a website, of course. With user engagement factors continuing to play a pivotal role in SEO successes, we need to understand the consumer’s intent and match that up to the experience they …read more
Source:: Search Engine Watch – SEO